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Nine out of ten patients will still receive local care, Stafford Hospital administrator says

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 19, 2013

By Robin Scott

1446245-QJ_SNCL181213Stafford Hospi-08
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NINE out of ten patients will continue to receive care locally in redesigned plans announced this week by administrators which will see the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Under the plans - which administrators said were a step forward from draft recommendations issued in July - Stafford Hospital will fall under the control of University Hospitals of North Staffordshire with staff transfers expected in Autumn of 2014.

Administrator Alan Bloom said he and his colleagues had listened to the community during the public consultation and amended their recommendations for Stafford to include a midwife-led maternity unit, a continued paediatric assessment unit run in conjunction with A&E and a critical care unit which continued to allow patients to stay overnight on a case by case basis as long as appropriate staff were available.

Mr Bloom said during the extension period administrators had been able to reach an agreement with commissioners over future funding arrangements with the department of health and local clinical commissioning groups agreeing to foot the £14.9million shortfall expected after four years of reconfiguration.

"This is a very positive step towards developing a long-term strategy for the local health economy," said Mr Bloom.

He said due to continued staffing issues faced by all hospitals, various measures would need to be taken over the coming weeks too, with details to be announced in the next few days.

Joint administrator Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor said: "The basis for our thinking was the notion of networking.

He said both patients and staff would gain under the plans which would see the smaller Stafford Hospital benefit from the facilities and expertise availalble at Stoke.

Professor Mascie-Taylor said women with lower-risk pregnancies would have the choice to use Stafford's midwifery-led unit, but higher-risk cases would be directed to Stoke's obstetrician-led unit.

He said the paediatric assessment unit would continue at Stafford, run by specially-trained doctors and nurses in conjunction with the A&E, adding that Stafford's clinical commissioning group had been asked to consider improving home paediatric services in support.

He said critical care at Stafford would have the facility to intubate, to ventilate and to stabilise patients with "relatively uncomplicated" problems staying on site and sicker patients transferred to University Hospital.

Professor Mascie-Taylor said an increase in the number of step-down beds at Stafford would help "repatriate" Stafford patients who had been treated in Stoke.

Alan Bloom said he was "extremely pleased" with the way administrators had tackled and reduced the deficit at MSFT adding they had created a four-year cushion whereby the services they were recommending could be provided locally.

Professor Mascie-Taylor said the challenges Stafford's health economy faced would still exist, but that he felt the recommendations gave Stafford and Cannock a strong opportunity to build a future for the people of the area.

The plans will now go to healthcare regulator Monitor which has until January 16 to submit them to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt then has until February 26 to consider the report.

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